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IIC: 138 Personal Formation with Jake Khym: Restore the Glory and Life Restoration


Catholic thought leader, human formation specialist, and podcaster Jake Khym has more than 20 years of experience in a wide variety of ministry settings and he joins me in this episode to discuss integrated personal formation.  In this episode, we focus on these major themes: 1) your heart; 2) your identity as a beloved little son or daughter of God; 3) the integration of formation within the heart; 4) love as the gift of oneself; 5) change vs. growth vs. flourishing; 6) the importance of emotions; 7) how good formation requires relationship; 8) getting into the messy business of your own personal formation; and 9) Jake’s top resources for personal formation.


Dr. Peter: [00:00:00] For the last five episodes, we’ve been discussing models of integrated personal formation, the why and the what of integrating the four dimensions of formation human, spiritual, intellectual, and pastoral dimensions. We’re getting now to the how of integrated personal formation as a Catholic. In episodes 133, 134, 135 of this podcast, Interior Integration for Catholics, we covered the best theory of integrated formation from the church documents and from our five models. Now we’re getting into the practice of integrated formation, your personal formation. Now, we did that with Father Boniface Hicks in episodes 136 and 137. And now I am so excited for this episode. Let’s do this together. So the question here is why? Why are we focusing on how to integrate these four dimensions of formation? Why? Because it is essential for you to flourish. Integration is so essential that I named this podcast Interior Integration for Catholics, for you. I’m Dr. Peter Malinoski, also known as Dr. Peter. I am your host and guide in this Interior Integration for Catholics podcast, and I am so glad to be with you. I’m a clinical psychologist, a trauma therapist, a podcaster, a writer, and the co-founder and president of Souls and Hearts. But most of all, I’m a beloved little Son of God, a passionate Catholic who wants to help you to taste and see the height and depth and breadth and warmth and the light of the love of God, especially God your father. And not only God your father, but I also want to bring in Mary, your mother, both of your spiritual parents, both of your primary parents.

Dr. Peter: [00:02:04] I’m here to help you embrace your identity as a beloved little child of God and Mary. That is what this podcast is all about. That is what this episode is all about. And to bring that about, to live out our mission, I bring you new ways of understanding yourself, fresh conceptualizations informed by the best of human formation resources, always grounded in the authoritative teachings of the Catholic Church. And again, why? We keep coming back to that question. Why? To help you flourish in love. That’s why. That’s what this is all about. So you can live out the three loves and the two great commandments; so that you can better love your God in the three persons of the Trinity, with your whole heart, with your whole soul, with your whole mind, with all your strength, so that you can love God with every fiber of your being, with all your parts, no part of you left out, no part left behind. And so that out of your love for God, you can love your neighbor as you love yourself in an ordered way. I want you to embody love. That’s the vision I’m inviting you to. At Souls and Hearts, that’s what we help our members to do. And this is episode 138 of the IIC podcast titled Personal Formation with Jake Khym: Restore the Glory and Life Restoration.

Dr. Peter: [00:03:22] It releases on May 20th, 2024. And I want to tell you some things about Jake Khym, our guest for today. Jake is a Catholic thought leader with more than 20 years of experience in a wide variety of ministry settings. He has a master’s degree in counseling psychology. He’s got a Bachelor of Arts in Theology with a concentration in Catechetics, and Jake has worked in adult faith formation. He’s worked in seminarian and priestly formation. He’s worked in diocesan evangelization with catechesis, RCIA, retreat ministry. I’ve heard such great things about Jake’s retreats, I’ve got to tell you. He’s led a private counseling practice for over 15 years, and currently Jake offers human and pastoral formation to Catholic leaders. And this was such a great combination for me to see on his website. Human and pastoral formation, that combination. We’re going to talk about that. He’s a consultant to several dioceses and ministries across North America, and he offers an annual men’s retreat in British Columbia, Canada, where he lives. He’s got a particular focus in accompanying men, men leaders on their journey of faith, and he co-hosts two podcasts. One of them, as so many of you already know, is Restore the Glory. And I had the privilege of being a guest on episode 79 titled The Three Essential Relationships: Part 2 (Myself). And that was such a great experience and such a great relational connection. Jake is such a great host on his own podcast, and that episode brought so many people actually to this podcast.

Dr. Peter: [00:04:53] Many of you found out about this podcast because of that guest appearance on Restore the Glory. So I’m really grateful to Jake for that. We’re able to have different viewpoints, and in that episode, I challenged Jake, and Jake rose to the challenge. We were able to have that conversation. He took the risk to describe how he works clinically. I had some differences about that, and not only were we able to flesh that out a little bit on episode 79 of his podcast, but he allowed me to use that clip in episode 131 of this podcast. He’s also got a podcast titled The Way of the Heart with Brett Powell, and he heads up Life Restoration at It’s not .com, it’s .ca, it’s a Canadian thing. So three kids. He lives in Abbotsford, British Columbia with his wife Heather. And you know, one of the things that’s impressed me, really impressed me, about Jake is that he’s really been open about his own struggles. He addresses the things that men really struggle with head on, not just in the head, but in the heart. He deals with deep topics like shame, and he’s interested in parts work. He’s interested in the innermost self and parts. And so what I want to do here, Jake, is just give you the warmest welcome. Welcome to Interior Integration for Catholics. It is so good to have you here.

Jake Khym: [00:06:19] Oh, Peter. Thank you. That was maybe the greatest intro I’ve ever received anywhere. You’re fighting for Peter at the Pearly Gates. He might lose his job because if I go to heaven, I want you to announce it like that. That was awesome.

Dr. Peter: [00:06:40] Well, we have a connection. A connection, because we’re both so interested in the heart. When I was looking over your website and when I’ve listened to episodes of Restore the Glory, and I’ve not actually listened to anything of The Way of the Heart yet. In fact, I just found out about that. Like, I didn’t know you had that going on. So you’ve got all kinds of things that I’m not aware of. But I’m super excited to connect with you at the level of the heart. I think men so need to be able to be in touch with their hearts. And I think, my sense is from the limited contact that we’ve had, because really, we’ve only talked today and then when we did that episode. But my sense is, is that you get that, you get that this is about the hearts of men and the hearts of women.

Jake Khym: [00:07:30] Mmhm, yeah. I think my formation for so long has been heart-centered and it’s like, I don’t know how to think outside of that. And a lot of my early formation came from the theology of the body. And so it seems that that’s a centerpiece of John Paul II’s catechesis there. And then I came across this quote in the Catechism, where it talks about the heart, and it just like captured everything for me. And so I went, sorry, this is going to sound cheesy, but this is the heart of it all. Like, this is the heart of it all. Yeah. It’s like the catechism quote says stuff like the heart is the place where I am. The heart is the place where I dwell, is the place to which I withdraw. It’s the place where truth happens, choice happens. It’s the place of encounter etc, etc. So, yeah. The heart’s central.

Dr. Peter: [00:08:19] It’s beautiful. Now, do you remember the number of that catechism quote?

Jake Khym: [00:08:23] It’s 2563.

Dr. Peter: [00:08:26] 2563. I’ve run across that same one, and it was like a lightning strike when I saw it, like, wham! You know, it’s like, huh? I didn’t know it was in there. Like that was after Souls and Hearts was up and running. That was after we’d been talking about this for a while. And it’s like all of a sudden, boom, there’s this gem in the Catechism.

Jake Khym: [00:08:44] Yeah. It’s so true. I mean, the Catechism is full of those kinds of things. It’s amazing. Yeah, it’s amazing. But yeah, I agree.

Dr. Peter: [00:08:51] So now we’ve had a brief introduction to you and to your work, Jake, but here’s what I’m really interested in. Here’s what I’m sure the audience is really interested in. It’s your story. You’ve already started to lead in. You’ve given us a little taste, but what would you like to share with us about your identity, about your heart, about your history, about your journey so that we can get to know you more? Anything along those lines that you’d like to offer to us?

Jake Khym: [00:09:20] Yeah. Thanks, Peter. It’s funny when you ask that question, because right now I’m actually just finishing up offering an entire course on identity. And so I’m just like, my mind’s going, oh dear Lord, where do I go with this? Because when you spend like nine weeks reflecting on a topic, it makes everything big. So I’ll see what I can do. The students in the course are probably like, what’s he going to say?

Dr. Peter: [00:09:45] What’s he going to say? Yeah. So let’s put you on the spot a little bit here. You know, with this.

Jake Khym: [00:09:49] They must have put you up to this, I’ll need to have some conversations now. But, you know, when I think about identity, like it’s such an important question. And so there’s a “who am I?” and a “what am I?” So I’m not going to teach the course, but I’ll just go back into what comes up for me. I mean, you said it earlier and it’s something that I think I can toss around as almost a throwaway statement, but it’s probably the deepest part of my identity, which is I’m a beloved son and you’re a beloved son. You know, all the other men are beloved sons and the women are beloved daughters. But there is a uniqueness to that with me, and that’s the foundation of my identity, is knowing who I am in light of the father. I would say that’s probably also one of the most difficult things for me to hold onto. And even that language I don’t really like, because it’s not really me holding on to Jesus or the father. It’s more them holding on to me and letting myself experience that security. So I’d say sonship is critical. And so I have spiritual, you know, I’m a son of God the Father, but I also have biological parents, and I have other people in my life who’ve been wonderful spiritual parents to me. So my story with, you know, growing up is a mixture of… You know, when the church talks about people of goodwill? That has been really helpful for me because my parents are exactly that. They have incredible goodwill. And I think the dilemma with that is that you can have all the goodwill in the world, but you can have poor skill. You know, so you can have goodwill but poor skill. And so my mom and dad are great examples of having really goodwill, but maybe not the best skill. And how do you love? How do you affirm? How do you raise? Etc, etc. They had all their own stuff.

Dr. Peter: [00:11:47] So there’s a difference between benevolence and beneficence. Benevolence is the goodwill. Beneficence is the capacity to execute that goodwill. There’s the ability there. Right.

Jake Khym: [00:11:58] That’s brilliant. That’s exactly it. And my parents definitely had the benevolence, not the beneficence. I don’t even know how you say that word.

Dr. Peter: [00:12:08] The beneficence, yeah.

Jake Khym: [00:12:09] Yeah, I want to say, yeah. Anyway, so that’s a mixture of part of my story. I’m also a brother and that’s a spiritual and a biological, same thing. My biological brothers have great goodwill, lack of capacity. And I have amazing spiritual brothers as well, my men’s group, etc. I’m a husband, I’m a father. And so my story is wrapped up in all of those kind of identities and relationships. If I go beyond kind of that and maybe touch on a bit of the parts of me, I have been a deep feeler and deep thinker since I came out of the womb. And I mean, this is weird, but I think I was probably maybe eight, seven, eight years old and I was already thinking about my wedding day. And there’s a mixture of that, of woundedness because of wounds I experienced from my mom and my heart already trying to envision this redemptive thing. And then I think, on the other hand, I’m just very tender-hearted. I’m intense and I love intensely. I’m super sappy and I love the ushi-gushies of all the stuff and all of that. I would say other parts about me is I’m very playful. I love to be playful, but I can also be pretty neurotic, meaning I can have a lot of negative emotion. And I would say, you know, I’m a passionate guy. I love maturing and growing. Like, if I had to pick a word that would capture me, one of the words that I’ve actually gone, I think this might be a word is becoming. Because it’s this perpetual process of deeper integration of who I’m called to be. And it’s a journey and acknowledging where I’ve come, where I haven’t come, that I’m still becoming who God designed me to be. Yeah. Other than that, I mean, I could keep going and going, but I’ll pause there.

Dr. Peter: [00:14:06] Well, you know, this brings me to that question, right? You’re alluding to it, but you’re talking about, like, this human formation. When we go back to our families, we’re always talking about human formation and then bringing in some of the intellectual formation, you know, with theology of the body, right. And then the spiritual formation. So just how these four domains, the pastoral too that you’ve talked about on your website and, and in a number of other cases, the ways that you work in your ministries. Tell me about bringing these together in your own life and how you understand them working together in your own life.

Jake Khym: [00:14:48] Yeah. I don’t know about you, but I think the first space I even heard these categories was John Paul II, Pastores Dabo Vobis. And I know you you’ve alluded to that in previous episodes. Like, I know you’ve said it, but man, I can’t repeat this enough. You and I have the luxury at times of going into spaces in the church where it’s almost like other people don’t get access. And one of those, I mean, right now is the formation of priests, seminarians, bishops. It’s like, I think for an average Catholic, they look up at them and go like, ah, you know, they’re they wear the special outfits and they, you know, got it all together. And guys like you and I have been brought into those worlds. And one of the things that I’ve realized is that there’s like gold sitting in their formation storehouses that for some reason, hasn’t totally gotten out a lot. And so when I was doing seminarian formation for about ten years, I dove deeply into all the church documents about priests and seminarian formation. And I kept going, this isn’t just for you guys. Why have I never heard about this? I began this kind of mission of going, I think I’m just going to start slowly putting things figuratively in my pockets as I leave the seminary and like, I’m slowly going to steal stuff and then bring it out to the world.

Jake Khym: [00:16:06] So I love that you’ve done the same. And obviously that’s not the case. They’re not like hoarding it and saying we can’t have it. But the category, like the thought the church has put into the formation of priests and seminarians is extensive. Not that they haven’t put a lot into other areas, but those four categories for me were so helpful because I just went, I don’t know any other categories. Like, and when you think about human and all the complexities of what it means to be human, it’s really nice to kind of narrow it down to some buckets that you try to pay attention to. So for me, those categories, they’re like orienting pillars that I know this is the critical stuff of what it means to be a human. And so if I’m not sure what should I be doing in my maturation process, what should I be doing in a healing, like when I’m engaging in my relationship with the Lord. Like, what is should I even be looking at? Because there’s so many categories, it seems, but they nicely flow together in those four. And so I can assess pretty quickly how I’m doing, how I’m growing. I can also do that with other people. I can do that in my marriage. So I just find them extremely helpful as just orienting pillars or principles that pull together a lot of stuff. When I checked out Dr. Walz’s model, I thought that was really interesting. I can’t remember what episode, a couple episodes ago.

Dr. Peter: [00:17:34] Yeah, 133, yeah.

Jake Khym: [00:17:35] 133. I thought his reflections about love, that was really cool. I’d never heard that before. I’d never seen anybody kind of put those two together. And I thought, you know what? If you’re going to pick one thing that weaves them all together, love has to be that thing. And so like ordered self-love, love of truth, love of others, love of God. I was like, wow, I’d never heard that. That’s really solid. That was to me really, really helpful. But all right. So I’m going to spin it a little bit here. Here’s my dilemma. And I’ve never had anybody answer this with me because I have this dilemma with these four categories. Why aren’t they all called human formation? And underneath them there’s spiritual, intellectual, pastoral, and maybe psychological. Why is human separated out as if you’re not human when you do this. You know what I mean? Like it’s a weird disintegration. And so, like people say to me, like, what do you do? What’s your mission in life? Whatever. And I would say human formation is a major part of what I do. And then if they said, well, what does that include? I go like, well, you know, how to love people. That’s pastoral. Growth in your intellectual life. That’s intellectual. So do you know why people, why did we distinguish that like that?

Dr. Peter: [00:19:01] Well, I think it was because of Pastores Dabo Vobis. I think it’s because that’s the language, at least in the translation into English, that Pope John Paul II used. But I have had the same dilemma. Because like, all of a sudden, you know, if you move to the intellectual realm, you’re now not in the human dimension anymore… It doesn’t make sense, I get that. Yeah. I sometimes will think about it — and I don’t like this either, but it sometimes sits a little better for me — of the natural, like the natural realm, you know, or there’s other synonyms that don’t work like the secular realm, the profane realm, you know, like none of it seems to capture the sort of raw material about which we are made.

Jake Khym: [00:19:44] Right. And human to me does it. When I think human, I go body, soul. So I’m right in the realm of my physiology. So I need to be mindful of care of my body because that is who I am. It’s not something I have. It’s an expression of me. And the spiritual dimension, that’s also me. My intellect is me. My psychology is me, my loving of other people. That’s all still me, you know, in the sense of human. So, I don’t know, maybe, Peter, did we just find the one thing that John Paul II maybe didn’t say clearly?

Dr. Peter: [00:20:23] Well, you got me really thinking, Jake, because, you know, I don’t know if he wrote the document originally in Polish or if he wrote it in Latin. You know, English is a terrible language for describing internal experience. You know, like even this word love, right? I mean, the Greeks, depending on the classifications, have eight words that are covered by the one word. And so yeah, so the same thing with like anger. Right. In English, we have this one word anger. And we know that Jesus was angry. But we also know that anger is one of the seven deadly sins, right. And so like wait a minute. Like there’s God… there’s a lot that gets lost in translation. So now you’re making me wonder, like, what did the original document… Like when he was thinking, he wasn’t thinking in English. He wasn’t super proficient in English. So yeah. So that’s really fascinating.

Jake Khym: [00:21:12] Because like when you think of affective maturity. So when I think of, that’s one of the things you hear in seminarian formation all the time. And I think it’s something that all of us need to grow in, etc. I would put that under the human dimension, but human still captures them all. And so it’s almost like I’m advocating for the distinction that they call human to actually be psychological or physiological and psychological. That to me would make so much more sense. But then I start to trip on my own feet because I go, well, psychological is technically the study of the soul. Now I’m in spiritual and blah blah blah, right.

Dr. Peter: [00:21:52] Right. Well, I think it goes to show how new this is, at least in church time, right. To have this document come out 32 years ago is like a blip in the history of church time. So I think we’re really still starting to just sort of flesh this out. And what I was super excited about with Matthew Walz in episode 133, is that the reason you never heard that before was that was the very first time he ever explicated it anywhere publicly — this idea of the four loves corresponding to the four dimensions. And I just love that too. Like wow.

Jake Khym: [00:22:26] It was brilliant.

Dr. Peter: [00:22:28] Yeah. It’s really, really, it’s really, really thought provoking. And because we want to love in an integrated way, right? We don’t just love spiritually. We don’t just love pastorally. We don’t just love intellectually, for sure. We don’t just love — now I’m going to get caught again, right — humanly, yes, we do love humanly, but there it is again, right? So I totally appreciate where you’re coming from with that, that there’s some limitations we’re bumping up against with the language.

Jake Khym: [00:22:54] Yeah, I think another one that comes up for me that is just, it’s touching on this domain. And I think this is why I’m advocating for it, is because you and I both know that as soon as you start disintegrating humanity, we have to be careful, because if you nuance something to the exclusion of something else, you’re in danger zone because the our humanity is, it’s a totality, you know what I mean? Like, you tug on the soul, the body gets kind of tugged with it. It’s like this separation is death. When you separate the body and the soul, it’s death. And even to nuance the goodness of the spiritual and the badness of the physical, that’s still rampant. But that’s a heresy.

Dr. Peter: [00:23:41] Manicheanism all over again, right? Yeah. Docetism. Yeah, absolutely.

Jake Khym: [00:23:47] There’s so much danger there. And so one of the things that I say to people and I have to remind myself of this is human isn’t a bad word. Because people say, oh, I’m just human. And I’m going, did you realize that the entire, like, Genesis of the Fall was because of jealousy of humanity? It’s not this thing that people are like, oh, I’m just human. Like the frogs are dying like wishing they could — I mean, not literally, but figuratively speaking, like we’re the crown of creation. So to just say, oh, I’m just human. I think John Paul II would be like, no, no, that is not, that’s the glory of what you are. Now, our fallen humanity. That can get pretty gnarly, right? But anyway.

Dr. Peter: [00:24:39] Then that was the point that Father Boniface Hicks was making in the last two episodes was that we want to be careful to not parse this so much that we start to eviscerate the reality, you know, that we are integrated. And he was really kind of pushing back against me because I have some analytical parts that like to sort of to divide these things, to be able to understand them, you know. But there’s something artificial about that, I think was Father Boniface’s point. And we want to make sure that we’re not losing that integration. Although I really appreciate like when we do explicate it because, again, if we can take it apart to some degree and we can put it back together, then I think we can have some deeper understandings about how we look at this.

Jake Khym: [00:25:21] Absolutely. Yeah. There’s the whole and the parts matter and the integration of all of that, obviously. Look at what you talk about. Integration obviously matters to you. But yeah, if you can’t nuance anything, then you can’t really master much. You can’t grow a ton. So there’s this, yeah, I feel the balancing act.

Dr. Peter: [00:25:42] Yeah, the tension. Because yeah, I don’t want to say that why do we have these dimensions anyway? Let’s just call it formation, right. Because I think you can get into some laziness in the intellectual understanding of what we’re doing. So I want to value that. I also want to make sure that we’re valuing the heart, right. And not just going to these sort of dry categorizations that somehow really isolate these dimensions. And in fact, I’m really glad, actually, that the USCCB moved away from their language of pillars, because pillars, what they evoke to me is silos, you know. You know, and so they moved to dimensions. And I like that language a lot better.

Jake Khym: [00:26:26] Nice. I mean, just something that comes up for me is I was so deeply formed by the personalism and phenomenology of John Paul II. I just have to, like, publicly say my gratitude for him, as well as all the people who brought him to me in a digestible manner. I don’t know if I ever would have digested him if I tried to take him in on my own. But I mean, when you think about it, you know, I had my normal… I mean, it’s not even normal, but I’ve been being formed my whole life. I’m always in formation. So my family, etc. But when I started to take it seriously, some of the first things I ever encountered were the theology of the body, personalism, phenomenology. Like wow, what a gift. That that’s kind of where I just wandered into that room and that’s the formation that I began to get. I’m so grateful for that. And one of the nuances of that, that I think is so important, especially as Catholics, is that it doesn’t just remain good ideas. Like we are a sacramental church and that’s like our heartbeat. We’re so pro-body and pro-physical. That’s why we’re pro-life, because we see the glory of the person so much. And I think then one of the temptations that can happen is that we can find ourselves staying in the theoretical, right and not having it get practical, like for example. This is one of my struggles in the spiritual dimension. I love to read about prayer more than I pray. And I’ll tell you, Peter, there are books that literally have lines and chapters that say, if this is your sixth book that you’ve read on prayer, it might be time to actually pray and stop reading. You know what I mean? Oh, I’m so guilty of that. And because, here’s the thing. The intellectual dimension, even when I approach my spiritual life pastoral, human, etc., it’s safer. Like there’s a safety. I can, I’m one step removed. I get to look over the fence at it. Yeah, but when I’m actually praying, I’m there, I feel all the feelings. I’m encountering another person, and he doesn’t necessarily act exactly how I would want him to act. You know, it’s like all those things. And so it’s easier to read a book about prayer than actually praying. But to me, that’s when the formation really slows down is if I’m having this buffer around it. And so I remember, to the seminarians and man, they’re pros at studying stuff instead of actually doing the stuff. So when I would talk to them about the pastoral dimension, I said, “Uh, did you guys realize that when you are before the judgment seat, that Jesus Christ in all of his mercy and all of his justice is not going to push across to you a multiple choice test, that’s Thomas Aquinas examination of love?” That’s not at all what’s, he’s going to look at you and say, “Did you love well? Did I know you?”

Dr. Peter: [00:29:51] Did I know you? Right. And how did he know us? Did he know us from afar? Or did he know us because we came to him and we allowed him to come to us? Yeah, right.

Jake Khym: [00:30:02] Absolutely. And so the best thing, if you want to be formed pastorally, try to pick somebody and try to love them well. And then let that be, the the Catechism calls chastity is the school of the gift of self. Like what a brilliant phrase. The school of the gift of self. And so when I’m trying to be a gift — that’s the pastoral dimension — when I’m trying to love well, I’m going to school and so I show up, I’m prepared, I try to do my thing and then I have homework and I review and I go wow, that didn’t necessarily go so well. Why didn’t that, oh, because I’ve got a part that’s all stirred up by this person. And you know, here’s been a big one for me in the pastoral dimension that I really struggle with is the only way to find yourself is to make a sincere gift of yourself. I rail against that because there’s parts of me that feel like if I make a gift of myself, there won’t be enough left for me. It’s almost like I have to take care of me, and then I can take care of other people. And it’s this big budgeting system. And you’re a potential withdrawal on my capacity. So I need you to go away. Well, the church is saying, actually, Jake, you you get more when you give, and then that could be really hard.

Dr. Peter: [00:31:25] Well, often it wasn’t our experience either, with other significant figures in our lives. I mean, some of it is there’s a history here behind these things. There’s parts reacting to when we did make a gift of self in some way, and the gift got rejected by somebody that was close to us. And so it’s understandable. But when we stop that, when we pull in, you know, that’s where we start to get, you know, enclosed, hardened, you know, in the hearts and it could be out of fear or it could be out of anger or it could be out of shame. That’s a really common one. And that’s one of the things I love about your work, too. I don’t know if I mentioned it yet, but you actually get into that whole issue of shame, like, which is so central. And I think of that on the natural level or the psychological level or the sort of human level. I think so many of our spiritual problems are really spiritual consequences of unresolved shame. And I see that in the natural realm. And I think you get that. Like the stuff I’ve heard you say and the things that I’ve seen you write. And that to me is just so gratifying because I don’t think there’s enough people in this little corner of the vineyard working in the natural with shame, recognizing that if we don’t shore up that natural foundation, we’re going to have trouble because grace perfects nature. It has to have that nature to perfect.

Jake Khym: [00:32:45] Yeah, I say this and I really, I mean it. It’s not just something I say, but it rolls off the tongue. I think Genesis 3:10 is probably the most brilliant psychological phrase that was ever penned. And it’s Adam’s response to the question from God, where are you? Which is instantly exposing. Where are you? It draws attention to myself, and it draws attention to someone who sees me. And his response is, I was afraid because I was naked and so I hid. And that sums up so much of my story. Fear, vulnerability and shame and hiding. Facades. Pretending. Earning love. Acting like I’m something I’m not because I’m afraid that people won’t love me. And then the only, the remedy there is the one who asked the question. Like it’s not a where are you so I can punish you and you did all this bad. But my soul, my heart kind of hears those intonations and tones where it’s really hard to believe in our core that he’s asking because he wants to love and bless and heal and restore and give us back what was lost. I mean, when you hear the good news and you actually hear it… One author that I read said, when you encounter Jesus as as he actually is, you either walk away in shame or you shamelessly worship him. And I was like, oh, that is such a good, like, I don’t care anymore because of how good you are and how good you are to me. So I will just, I worship you uninhibited. Or oh gosh, this is too intense. I’m out of here.

Dr. Peter: [00:34:40] Well, that’s the contrast between Judas and Mary Magdalene, right? You know, I really see, you know, Judas as having died of, yes, of course suicide. But having died of shame. Having died of shame. Because he thought he was so unlovable, so despicable that he could not imagine that he could recover from that. And so I think Judas died of shame. And ultimately I think so many are really in danger of dying from shame because it doesn’t matter in the end why you flee from God. You know, if you flee from God, I mean, you’re going to be isolated. And I think so much of the fleeing like you were talking about has to do with the hiding, right? The intolerance of the vulnerability. Like, and that doesn’t have to be malice. It doesn’t have to be that we’re rubbing our hands and trying to figure out, like, how can we hate God, right? And so I think that fear, the anger, the depression, all of these things are downstream of shame.

Jake Khym: [00:35:46] Peter, I love the idea of shame being upstream and all the other dynamics being downstream, because it resonates as biblically true. And I think that’s one of the geniuses of the stuff that you do, and the stuff I try to do is the integration work, the hard integration work of divine revelation. And then what we know to be the case on the natural level. And man, when you can get those two things to integrate, it’s amazing. It’s the opportunity for flourishing. And so with that simple concept of shame’s way upstream, and so if you address shame a lot of this downstream gets better, like that’s gold for folks. Because you’re like do I address these 17 things downstream or can I be a little more efficient and keep pushing upstream?

Dr. Peter: [00:36:39] Well, you know, I saw that really early in my career when I started to work with folks that were struggling with their issues with their biological fathers. You know, with their earthly fathers. And, you know, it was very common, for example, that that they struggled with God as father. And so we weren’t working with God as father, but we were just working on resolving the father wound, you know, really healing the father wound. And then just all kinds of things opened up spontaneously for them to be able to approach God as father, because the whole concept of father was no longer so toxic. So that’s where I was thinking, that’s where I first started to think that, it was that kind of example, that maybe some of these spiritual problems are really spiritual consequences of, you know, these human in a sense, or natural level difficulties, you know.

Jake Khym: [00:37:33] That’s very true. Gosh, there’s so many different angles and approaches that we can take. I’m like, I’ve forgotten that we’re on a podcast here for a second.

Dr. Peter: [00:37:41] I just love it when we are in this zone. Like, that’s where I want to be with my guests. That’s where I want to connect, at that level, because I do sense, like there’s this resonating right, that happens, right. And I’ve been thinking about that in terms of the communion of the saints. I’ve been thinking about that in terms of parts. I’ve been thinking about that in terms of just even mirroring neurons, you know, just being able to connect, right. This idea that that we want to have this union with each other, you know, and we want to have this unity inside so that we can have that union. And yeah, so just, that just enlivens me. And I got to say this too. I’ve learned some of this from you, like my podcast for years was a solo cast. Really, I didn’t have guests. There were dozens, scores of episodes would go by. And it’s only like more recently that I’ve begun to have guests, and some of it is really modeled after you and Bob Schuchts. It really is. The way that you have connected with your guests, and my own experience of being on that podcast. And your podcast is the one I listen to the most of all other podcasts, that one. And so yeah, so I’m like, wow, you know, this is the kind of how I want to be, you know, in terms of connecting and the experience we had. And what I love about it is we don’t have to agree about everything, you know, like we don’t have to become like clones of each other. We can retain our individuality. We can we can retain our identity, going back to that theme that we started with, which is a beautiful thing. So I’m really grateful for you and for Bob, you know, for that because yeah, it did have a real formative experience in terms of like taking this podcast to the next level of having guests.

Jake Khym: [00:39:19] And Peter, you’re great at it. Like you know how to do the conversational thing. So I love it. Okay, so here’s a curveball, okay.

Dr. Peter: [00:39:29] Give me the curveball, I love it.

Jake Khym: [00:39:30] I think maybe one of the most important questions that guys like you and I can wrestle with to try to be able to bless everyone who might come to us for, hey, what does this mean, what does that mean, is a very simple question, but to me, a gigantic question, which is: what is change and how does it happen? Because essentially what we’re talking about, when you look at shame or you look at the dimensions of formation, we’re inherently acknowledging, if I need formation, I’m currently in a particular way, and I want to be in a different way. Okay, how do I get there? And what I think is interesting and really, really subtle that’s going on right now, and I think it’s affecting the church dramatically, is the culture’s super subtle kind of messaging and hijacking of how things work, particularly change. Because if you just take social media for a second, not only are we doing social media and it’s just there on the screen and you swipe and all of that stuff, there’s all these other layers. And this is just one example. There’s all these other layers that it’s impacting because as humans we’re inherently integrating beings. Like we’re always trying to pull it all together. And so if I sit there and I go on social media and I do that five hours a day, which I think the stats are even a little bit higher on average for that across the board. What is that communicating about how change should happen? And in some ways it’s sending the message, I should be able to swipe and change. Swipe and change. Boom. Done. Yep. And if I decide that I want to sit longer with something, in the course of a minute because I think Instagram or one of these things has like, you can upload a video and you got like a minute, that’s it, because they’re basically saying that’s as long as we’re going to tolerate your musings. So then it kind of subtly says, okay, if you get me longer than a swipe, you’ve got a minute. And I’m just going, that’s impossible. How can I even begin to change something as deep as shame in a minute. So it makes me just zoom out and go, how do we resurrect or redeem or take back this whole thing around change so that people can go, oh, it’s normal, this is how God intended it, etc.

Dr. Peter: [00:42:02] All right, well, let me make one little vocabulary shift, and see if it changes anything. What if we substitute the word grow for change? So like, does it sound different to say, swipe and grow?

Jake Khym: [00:42:25] It sounds more plausible.

Dr. Peter: [00:42:27] Okay, okay. Because I don’t think it’s just change that we’re looking for, right? We’re getting change in our culture. We’re getting change in our hearts. We’re getting change in our relationships. And it’s not all good, right. So I would first of all say, yeah, there’s a real resistance to change. I think about it in terms of physics. I think about it in terms of inertia. I think about it in terms of, you know, people are much more comfortable, they’re more comfortable, they’re more familiar, they’re more comfortable with the dysfunction they know, you know. So there’s a resistance to that just because at least I can function. At least I’ve survived operating this way. But I don’t think for me change is a huge motivator. It’s just not. Growth is a motivator. Flourishing is a motivator. Do you believe that if you swipe left on this and swipe right on that in the space of five seconds, you’re going to flourish, that you’re going to grow. Yeah, you can change things. Things do change. Things change on your screen. Now you’re talking to a different person, you know, because you were talking with somebody else, you know, on this social media app just a little bit ago. But, you know, if we can frame things in terms of words like grow, flourish, nourish, like we start getting into the really earthy, gut level, emotional, like you were talking about the intensity of your emotions and so forth. We can start capturing that. I think that’s part of the problem in our approaches to formation.

Dr. Peter: [00:44:00] I’m coming back to this theme, Jake. It’s one for us, this identity, right. I think if we can remember who we are. I think it’s so critical for us to make the effort to remember who we are. Because if we can remember who we are as beloved little sons, as beloved little daughters of God, then that opens up so much. And so, so much for me around identity is that when I’m remembering that I’m a beloved little son of God, and that applies whether we’re having technical difficulties with a podcast like we have been, you know, you know, then things are okay. Like we’ve had some — just backstory. We’ve cut a lot of this out, but we’ve had some significant technical difficulties with this, like serious ones. And yet it’s okay because I’m a beloved little son of God. If I can hold that, and if I can seek that — there are times where I don’t hold that at all. And when I’m not holding that at all, and when it’s not even registering on an intellectual level, it’s not even in the mind, then I know that I’m going to be spinning into something that’s going to be lonely, frustrating, difficult, non-relational, at least non-relational in a good way. So if we can go back to two things, plus the heart, that is, our identity as beloved little sons of God and remembering that we were made in love, by love, for love. If we can hold those two things, then I know for me that helps me reset. If I get focused on developing virtues, you know that can become a really self-absorbed, inwardly focused self-improvement project. You know, if I’m thinking about conquering this vice. And I was just reading in the book The Soul of the Apostolate, that if you have a deep relationship with God, you will have the virtues, you will have the virtues you need. And I know that I have parts that can derail me into thinking, okay, I’m going to conquer this. And that’s essentially, you know, a prideful endeavor, right? Without me, you can do nothing. You know, and so we’ve got to go back to what you were alluding to, what you were saying is that, to come as you are, to come shamelessly, to come as Mary Magdalene came, right, instead of the inward focus that Judas had or that Peter had, you know? The regret when he turned away and he left, you know, after the cock crowed, right, and he had denied Jesus for the third time. You know, so that’s where I would start on the spiritual level. That that would be a sort of where I would be thinking about things in terms of spiritual level. It would be different on the natural level for me.

Jake Khym: [00:47:10] Yeah, for sure. I think that that’s kind of the, when I’m hybriding those together, something that strikes me is I’ve been shocked recently by how much whatever I pay attention to, how fast that is represented in my experience or being or awareness. You know, if you have a friend and you’re texting that friend a lot and you say something with that friend like “you’re the best”, you find yourself saying that in all kinds of other places. And so what I’m getting at is that whatever I practice, I pay a lot of attention to, is what comes up, and it feels more familiar. And so what’s… Little diversion. There’s this talk called the AI dilemma. And I’m going to, I’m going down a road, it makes a point, though. And it’s all these really smart dudes with Google and whatever, and they’re all saying, hey, we did some interesting stuff with social media, didn’t we? And now we’ve got this AI thing. Maybe we should be careful about what we do with this AI thing, because I don’t think any of us thought social media would become what it became. And so there was all these smart dudes just admitting this got way bigger than we expected. But here was the part that was just crazy to me. They admitted to each other and the things on YouTube or whatever, that they were all with social media in what they called an arms race. Like what you do in war, like the first one to make a bomb, but their arms race, what they said is we were in an arms race for the bottom of the brain stem. They were all fighting for the bottom of the brain stem. And so what I quickly reinterpreted that was, was attention and emotion. They were battling to get everybody’s attention and emotion and to have those work in sync so that you just stay there longer and ultimately they leverage it. So what I walked away with that was attention and emotion and how powerful those are, how easily influenced they can be. And so if I want to grow, what I pay attention to really matters and how my emotions go really matter. What’s going on on the emotional level really matters. So for me, when I think about growing or these various things and I think about beloved son; for a long time, beloved son was just a phrase. It didn’t have any emotion to it. Or if it had any emotion, it was probably negative. But it was through all the various aspects of formation and me pressing through and almost going, everybody’s saying, there’s this thing on the other side of the mountain here, and I’ve just got to keep working at it and it requires some perseverance. But literally, Peter, when you just said there for a moment, you started slowing down and your tone shifted and you started saying, beloved little son. I could feel my central nervous system regulating. I could feel me slowing down. And I went, why is that happening? And I’m going, it’s because I’ve put a lot of attention here. And my emotions go, oh, I know this place. This is a good place. And things start settling and and I can regulate, you know, I can calm down. That’s to me, one of the things that jumps out that I don’t know if we realize how important what we pay attention to is.

Dr. Peter: [00:50:54] Well, that was one of the criticisms that Dietrich von Hildebrand had in his book on the heart of a lot of philosophy, theology, spiritual writing is that it didn’t involve the heart. It didn’t include the affective, the emotional, the really natural gut level. It didn’t include the limbic system. And if you’re going to make it into relationship with God deeply, your limbic system is going to have to go with you. You can’t leave it like parked outside the door. You can’t leave those parts that have that intensity. I was thinking about, you know, in some ways you have an advantage and a disadvantage with how intensely you feel, right? I’m reminded of Saint Teresa of Avila, right. All those horses, you know, like wild horses. She described her emotions as wild horses. And I’m like, but if you can bring those horses into order, right, if you’ve got all those horses, you know, say 16 horses to your carriage as opposed to two. I mean, they can take you so much farther, you know. So it’s a gift, right, if those horses can be harnessed, if there can be this interior unity, this interior integration. And I would think about this in terms of parts, not just, you know, a series of emotions, but yeah. Then, what a gift. And I’ve often heard that Mary Magdalene — going back to her, keep coming back to Mary Magdalene — I’ve heard that she’s the woman who loved Christ the most after Our Lady.

Dr. Peter: [00:52:20] And if you look at, like, her emotional intensity, you know, like she had the capacity to bring her being in, you know. And I think for men especially, we’ve been conditioned, trained, reinforced for like taking emotion out, you know, like for moderating that, for coming across much more in the intellectual realm, you know, or for relating from a different position than an affectively charged position, an intimacy that brings in the affect. You know, we’re providers, right. We’re hunters. We’re gatherers, right. We’re kings, right. We’re prophets, we’re priests. But are we also like little boys that can have the full range of emotion and have that accepted, right. Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them. So that’s kind of where I’m going to. And I’m thinking about you and the intensity of that emotion and how that was received or not received, right. And how that shaped you, how that — going back to that, the whole idea of formation — how that formed you. Because that’s what Matthew Walz was saying. We’re going to be formed one way or another. You’re not going to go through without formation. The question isn’t whether you’re going to be formed, it’s how. How. And we can in some ways form ourselves, but it’s not directly. It’s by what formative influences we open ourselves up to.

Jake Khym: [00:53:43] Do you think that, like when you say we can be formed ourselves, I would like, you’re one of the people that helped me realize that relationship with self, how critically important it is. You know, my psychology training, I was like, yeah. But when you really get deeply into parts work, you appreciate the relationship with one’s self and all the parts. And I mean parts work for me is a major lens through which I can comprehend myself and other people. So that’s a whole road we could go down. But inherently you can’t, I would argue that formation is impossible without relationship.

Dr. Peter: [00:54:21] Oh yeah, I would totally agree with you. Father Boniface Hicks totally agrees with you on that. It’s got to be relational. It’s got to be relational. Yeah.

Jake Khym: [00:54:31] And I think maybe one thing that’s odd for people to realize is the relationship with one’s self. Because we automatically have this interpretation that says bad, selfish, even if I like look interiorly, what are you doing? Something’s wrong. You shouldn’t be doing that. Like, whoa, whoa, whoa. It’s okay.

Dr. Peter: [00:54:50] Aren’t you supposed to be dying to self, right? Aren’t you supposed to be forgetting yourself? You know.

Jake Khym: [00:54:56] Why aren’t you dead yet in there? Like, whoa, whoa whoa.

Dr. Peter: [00:54:59] We’re trying to kill off these parts for so long, and they just won’t die.

Jake Khym: [00:55:03] Oh, gosh. If I put as much effort into killing off my parts as I did integrating them, man, we’d be way further along. Yeah, but I think there’s that dynamic again of relationship and formation, what I pay attention to, etc. I mean, this is where it starts to get really fun. When I think about change or growth is when I, if I realize and I submit that okay, I can’t be formed apart from relationship, what I have to also admit is I’ve been in relational formation my whole life. And therefore I assume what my next teacher will be like. Which opens or closes me to formation in the next season or whatever. Right, so if my dad was distant and didn’t affirm me, but corrected me, I’m bringing that into the next opportunity for formation. And I’m bracing for stoicism and distance, but correction. And then my formation gets impacted, you know, and I think that’s one of the things that psychology has really done well is to admit, yeah, your prior formation is impacting your current formation. Thomas Aquinas has this cool phrase, and when when you say it in Latin, it has a bunch of really fun, I can’t say it in Latin, but one of the formators at the seminary used to say it in Latin all the time, and it has all these. Anyway, I’m not even going to go there, but it’s: whatever is received is received in the mode of the receiver. That is a brilliant, simple concept that applies to all these domains of formation, in particular growth and change. In all this is I’m receiving it in a particular way because of the mode that I’m bringing to the game or to the thing. And if I can’t acknowledge that, then all of a sudden it’s their fault or their issue. And then I get stuck. I stay stuck.

Dr. Peter: [00:57:03] The mode of the receiver. It seems so critical on all these different levels of formation because even in intellectual formation. I can hear somebody pushing back and saying, well, how can intellectual formation, does that need to be relational? But if you’re really engaging in intellectual formation, right, you’re asking yourself, do I understand this? Do I accept this? Does this sound good? Where am I with? And all of that is an internal dialogue. If you’re really engaging with it, there’s an internal dialogue even in intellectual formation. So this idea of an innermost self that can lead and guide your parts, that can be a secure internal attachment figure for parts to be able to connect to, helps us in all these domains of formation. I’ve had so many people, if they’ve done some parts work, their parts have come to trust the innermost self, then the innermost self can be that conduit or the bridge to our Lord and spiritual formation. You know, it can provide a sense of security. If I’m reading something theological, that makes me uncomfortable because it begins to challenge some of the cherished heresies that parts of me have held, right. Like when that Pelagianism starts to get challenged, like I’ve got to earn my salvation. I’ve got to earn my love. If we’re reading something like that, you know, or in the pastoral, like, I don’t have to say anything. I can just be with this person, you know? Like, I don’t have to have the right word. I don’t have to know what to do. It’s about being with, like, if your innermost self can be with your parts, then your parts aren’t going to be forced as readily into a position of feeling they have to have impulses to do something right, you know?

Jake Khym: [00:58:40] You know what’s interesting, Peter? You just blended them really nicely to me because I’m imagining, like. We do this clinically a lot. And I was just accompanying somebody who’s very close friend’s mother died. And so in the midst of that, this individual was asking me, what do I do? Like, you can’t say anything. And what was interesting is that I talked about presence. I was like, presence is huge in these situations, but it’s the intellect that says to the heart. I mean, I’m distinguishing maybe a little too much here. Like, yeah, that’s true. Presence is adequate. Presence is good enough. And so we already see some of the value of all the pieces together. So I’m in the pastoral. But how do I know what’s good here. How do I know what to do. Well, I go and reference intellect. And if I have some experience there or have learned from somebody else, then I’m confident that I go in and I can do what I want to do in that particular moment. And so you just subtly, a moment ago, just integrated all those various pieces. And I think that’s why the distinction of them is important. But they all come back together real quickly, particularly when you love, because if you’re sitting there in the human dimension and going, man, one of my parts is really off right now while I’m trying to love, and my intellect comes in and goes, hey, you might be feeling anxiety. And my memory says, oh, right. I’ve been doing my journaling work or my interior integration work. Okay, I’ve got to address that later. All that stuff together gives you some really good fruit. Like that’s when you start to love well and things get better. But this made me think of you. I read this a little bit ago and I was like, I’ve got to share this with Peter and I think it connects.

Dr. Peter: [01:00:33] Bring it on, bring it on. I want to hear it. I want to hear it. I’m excited.

Jake Khym: [01:00:35] Well, it’s just like this massive confirmation of parts work, but it doesn’t use that language. So there’s the book The Three Ages of the Interior Life by Father Garrigou-Lagrange. I think that’s how you say his name. Anyway, it’s like one of the classics on the spiritual life. And he talks about the interior life. So I want to read it. And I’m like to me, it was like, this is great. So here’s Lagrange saying this: “As everyone can easily understand, the interior life is an elevated form of intimate conversation, which everyone has with himself as soon as he’s alone.” Now he goes on and on and talks about conversing interiorly with myself, what I’m talking about. And the point is to, so as soon as the man becomes serious and he seeks truth and goodness, this intimate conversation with himself becomes a conversation with God. And that’s when it becomes holy. And I was like, that is gold. He’s just casually tossing out there, everyone talks to themselves. He’s basically saying, everybody has parts. And when the parts get centered around a dialogue with God, your interior life is maturing. And when I heard that I was like, whoa, this is in like all the seminaries for, you know, training in the spiritual life. This is like way up there in the touted books. And I went, he just talked about parts work.

Dr. Peter: [01:02:15] Just talked about parts. Wow. See, this is really interesting because I’ve never heard that quote before. I’m super excited. We’re going to have to get the page number and reference. We’ll get it in the show notes. But yeah, absolutely. This dialogue, this conversation with ourselves. But it can’t stop there. It can’t stop there or it just encloses in on itself. And this is so exciting. This is so exciting. I know Dr. Gerry Crete has pulled together a lot of the history of the church and multiplicity and parts and so forth in his book Litanies of the Heart. And also Christian Amalu in his doctoral dissertation, brought in a bunch of this stuff. But this was not in either of those. And so I just love collecting these kind of quotes because they’re pointing to a reality. Like we have a multiplicity in our being. Made in the image and likeness of God. God also has a multiplicity in a unity, the three in one, that allows that internal relationship to happen. And we’ve got the command to love ourselves, right. Love your neighbor as yourself in the second great commandment. And Saint Thomas says, you can’t love your neighbor more than you love yourself. So this idea of being able to harness that. That is amazing. Like that the interior conversation, and it’s supposed to be there. Like it’s not like you’re crazy if you notice that you’ve got these different positions and these different parts. So many times people are relieved, you know, to say, okay, this is okay, this is not only okay, this is how it’s supposed to be. We’re supposed to be able to have this relationship inside.

Jake Khym: [01:03:51] Yeah, that’s what blew me away was number one, the guy. It’s like John Paul II was talking about personalism or something. I was like, this is the guy. And he goes, “as everyone can easily understand”. It’s like just a toss away, right? Everybody has an intimate conversation with themselves. And I’m like, conversation with yourself. What? It was beautiful. So yeah, I’ll send you the stuff so you can put it in the show notes.

Dr. Peter: [01:04:20] Yeah, definitely want to get the resources on that. Well, I could go on for hours and hours and hours talking with you. This again doesn’t feel like a podcast episode so much as it feels like a conversation, like sort of thinking back porch, you know, lots of time. So I have this sense of like, I don’t know, like regret about sort of time constraints and so forth. This has been so good. But yeah, just what are you up to? I mean, you’ve got Restore the Glory. I know that you’ve been doing an amazing job with that. You’ve got Life Restoration. We haven’t talked about that hardly at all. You’ve even got some new endeavors. So just what is it that you think are most important? And again, I’m going to ask you to set some modesty aside here about formation resources, you know, that you are offering and then anything else that you think people ought to know about. Anything, any other hidden gems that you think, you know, people should just know about in terms of where the rubber meets the road with their own personal formation.

Jake Khym: [01:05:17] Yeah. Awesome. Thank you. Well, just about us, yeah. Restore the Glory, Dr. Bob Schuchts and I, a podcast on healing. Would encourage people to check that out. Heather, my wife, you know, Peter, way more people know about Heather than me. So let’s just acknowledge that’s the fact right out of the gate. So probably a lot of people know about her podcast called Abiding Together that she does with Sr. Miriam and Michelle. But she and I run a ministry called Life Restoration, and people can check that out. I say it like that because one person at one point went, why did you call your ministry Life Frustration? I was like, wow, I wish I’d have heard that beforehand. So Life Restoration, not life… Anyway, so people can check out what I’m doing there. And everything that we do is kind of, you can go there to look at it. But about resources and things like, I’m really excited because I’m in the process of developing human formation courses. And one’s done and it’s on identity, but I’m going to then develop one on relationship and then one on mission. So it’s the REM model that comes out of IPF, the Institute of Priestly Formation. They have this RIM model for the backbone of human formation. And I think it’s a really good model. So I’m developing courses about those, the identity ones are done. So again go to the website. But for generic resources and stuff I’ll just go through a quick list. Like you had sent me this one ahead of time, I was grateful because I would have not been able to think about these off the top of my head. And I’ll just go category, the people that formed me. So if people care. So church teaching. Honestly, Peter Kreeft was probably my number one guy. I would absolutely encourage people to be a fan and read Peter Kreeft philosophically. He’s amazing. Theologically he’s great. Frank Sheed was another one that really formed me as well in church teaching. And again, once you have the church teaching, you can explore all the other domains with confidence because your intellect’s like, eh, out of bounds. You’re like, okay. And you come back and bounce, so it gives you freedom to explore. So I’d say that’s a big one. Anthropology to me is huge. I would say theology of the body, Christopher West, Edward Sri, Janet Smith. I would say I’m big, well, actually Heather’s really big on this, and I’m learning from her about the kind of Christian narrative, like the meta narrative and how we see the world. And I would say Monsignor Shea is huge there. Father John Ricardo, I’ve been really blessed by them. Healing, I would say there’s this guy named Dr. Bob, and then there’s this other guy named Dr. Peter, if you’ve ever heard of either one of those guys. I would really encourage people to check them out. Another one for me that’s been big is discernment. I find knowing the discernment of spirits huge. So Father Timothy Gallagher. And the last two, discipleship, I’m going to go out of bounds a little bit here. I’m a big fan of Dallas Willard who is a Protestant pastor who’s deceased now. He is maybe one of the best guys I’ve ever read that articulates discipleship as apprenticeship to Jesus. I’m a huge Dallas Willard fan. He’s very Catholic-friendly, which is nice. And then lastly, spiritual life. I’m a big fan of Father Jacques Philippe. Simple. Fatherly. I love him. So, other than that, I would say get out there and do life. Like go do real stuff. Like journal as much as you read, do a hobby, try to love somebody. For me included, go pray more than you read books about praying. Yeah, I’ll end it there.

Dr. Peter: [01:08:53] You’re talking about going out there, not figuring it out beforehand, getting in there and trial and error. You know, the trial and error is like really important. There’s a lot of things you’re not going to learn by just considering them theoretically. Like you, you can’t get it right the first time. What I’m hearing you say, Jake, is we’re going to have to make mistakes of commission if we’re going to avoid the big mistake of omission.

Jake Khym: [01:09:20] I mean, we could have a whole other conversation about that one, because very quickly, I think discipleship inherently assumes mistakes will happen. Otherwise, why are you a student if you’re already the master? It doesn’t make sense. It’s not sin. Like, oh, I’m going to go consciously sin. It’s like, oh man, that didn’t work. And so I need to grow. So I’m a big fan of going getting your hands dirty. So two areas that I do that are motorcycling and jiu jitsu.

Dr. Peter: [01:09:55] Really. Oh boy. So okay, no we can’t just like leave that and then not talk about it. So come on Jake, come on Jake, you gotta fill us in.

Jake Khym: [01:10:06] Yeah, I’ve picked up motorcycling in my adult life, and it’s really scary, but it’s a skill-based thing. And when you have the skill, it’s exhilarating. But if you don’t have the skill, it’s dangerous. It can be very dangerous. And so it’s one of those things where it was intimidating. But I love, honestly, I love the feeling of wind in my face. I’ve loved it since I was a boy. And so I used to get it riding boats and stuff. So learning how to ride a motorcycle safely, effectively, to where you can have that experience and not die. There’s a nice combination there. So that’s been one. And then jiu jitsu was a bucket list. I’ve always wanted to learn a martial art, and then I kept hearing about it and kept hearing about it. And honestly, it’s been one of the most formative things for me because it is terribly humbling. And when you start when you’re older in life, everybody’s younger than you, they’re better than you. And your learning curve is steeper because you’re slower and dumber. But I would say it’s been one of the most formative things I’ve ever done. Because jiu jitsu is something that when you go out and do it, you can’t pretend. You either are good or you’re not. And the process of learning is very, very slow, like very slow. So it’s been like a spiritual discipline of sorts for me, but I really love it. So.

Dr. Peter: [01:11:31] Yeah, I’m imagining that it’s hard to hide once you’re, like, sparring or whatever the equivalent of sparring is.

Jake Khym: [01:11:36] Exactly. They call it rolling. But you’re right. You cannot hide. And your discomfort gets exposed because a guy will get you in a bad spot and you tap. And if you don’t tap, the pain increases or you get injured. So pride is immediately punished because of yourself. I mean, there’s just a lot to it. It’s a lot of good.

Dr. Peter: [01:11:57] So I’m going to want to close with this, Jake, because I feel like you can really roll with me on this. I’m going to ask you to take a minute and just go inside and just connect with your parts again. And I felt a lot of, like, recollection from you during this whole time together. It felt really comfortable. But I’m just going to invite you to notice if there’s anything that your parts are aware of, that they want you to speak for them to us. Like if there’s anything that might have been forgotten that one of them thinks, okay, this is really important to share. Just going to invite you to reconnect and see if there’s any parting points. Let’s take some time here. We don’t have to rush this. We’ve got the time.

Jake Khym: [01:12:41] Yeah. It’s interesting. I would say I can tell they’re very different parts because of the sentiment. Like one of the parts, if I’m brutally honest, is like saying to me, and wants me to say it so that they don’t get labeled for saying it, which is hey, can you be kind? Because I’m not sure I said everything perfectly. And so there’s a part of me that’s just like, hey, can you give me the benefit of the doubt? Like I’m trying. I don’t always do it perfectly. And then there’s another part that’s kind of just smiling and really had fun and wants to say to everybody like, it’s okay to enjoy the process and not have it be like so burdensome and serious. And then I think the last part, I don’t know if these final two are the same. This last part almost feels like true self, more of my integrated self is like, it is worth it. All of this discussion about formation and getting your hands dirty and that being a long, it’s not quick, like it’s worth it. It’s actually really, really good. Yeah.

Dr. Peter: [01:14:01] Yeah. Well, let’s let that land. You know, I’m just going to invite you listeners to let that land and notice what that brings up in you. You know, you’ve got the opportunity to pause this at this moment to just see, like, what are you noticing? Don’t just rush on, you know, just take a minute yourselves to notice what this is bringing up for you. And to consider, okay, what might be the next step for you. You know, what might be the next thing that a part of you really needs. Maybe in this moment, maybe later today, maybe tomorrow, maybe next week. But what is something that a part of you needs in your own formation. What was the word that came out today in our conversation stays with you. What’s the phrase? Write it down. Like, take it to heart. If you seek, you’ll find. We have this on the highest authority. And can you go with what Jake just offered us and strike out into the deep? Can we take some risks here? Are we willing to hold that we won’t be crushed if we take some chances? You know, what are you noticing? What do your parts want you as your innermost self to know?

Dr. Peter: [01:15:57] Okay, so as many of you know, you’re watching, we’ve got a YouTube channel now. I want you to like and subscribe. Let’s start a conversation. If you leave a comment about this on YouTube, I will read it. And unless there’s hundreds of them, I will respond to it, you know, until there’s too many. I’m going to invite you to check out the previous episodes in this series on personal formation, episodes 133, 134, 135, 136, 137. I’m going to invite you to also check out our weekly reflections from Souls and Hearts. We’re going through the series of Gary Chapman and Ross Campbell’s book, The Five Love Languages of Children, but we’re bringing that down to the level of our parts, many of whom are very young, like children, like children within us. And we’re learning to love our child-like parts. And that’s a good in itself, but it also empowers us to love similar child-like parts in other people, right. The child-like parts of children, but also the child-like parts of adults, because that’s what this podcast is all about. That’s what Souls and Hearts is all about. That’s what these weekly reflections are all about.

Dr. Peter: [01:17:00] It’s all about loving, right. And we focus on human formation here at Souls and Hearts, with some emphasis also on intellectual formation. I’m learning more and more from our guests that that’s also pulling in spiritual formation and pastoral formation as well. And we do that in community. So if you are a Catholic who holds what the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches is true in its entirety, and you are inspired to work on your own human formation, not alone, not as a lone wolf, but in a community of other Catholics, all in a journey together, all in a pilgrimage together to flourish and love, then I am going to invite you to check out the Resilient Catholics Community at We have openings for new applications starting on June 1st, less than a month away, right. Just a couple weeks away. Saint Gertrude the Great, that’s opening up. We’ve got nearly 300 on the interest list. And as part of that, you’re going to be invited to take the PartsFinder Pro. Now, the purpose of the PartsFinder Pro is to help Catholics understand themselves in their parts much more deeply, with greater interior integration and recollection, freeing you to love yourself better so that you can then love God and your neighbor as yourself, and love God wholeheartedly. That means all of your parts — manager parts, firefighter parts, exiled parts. We look at the roles of parts in this PartsFinder Pro. We look at how they align with each other, especially those manager parts.

Dr. Peter: [01:18:30] We look at polarizations among parts, how they enter into combat and conflict with each other. Why? We want that self awareness. That’s that first progression in the PPF6, the Program for Priestly Formation, sixth edition, right. Self-awareness, self-possession, self gift. And we cannot really love someone in a personal and intimate way if we do not know that person. That includes ourselves. The PFP, the PartsFinder Pro, consists of 16 measures. Why so many measures? Why so many instruments? Because they give different information to us. And some of these measures are what we call emic measures. Emic measures are specifically designed for a particular group, in this case, practicing Catholics who believe what the church teaches. And others are designed specifically for Christians more broadly. I spent a lot of time sifting through these possibilities. The PFP, we’ve been developing that for years now. And when we open this new cohort in the RCC — it’s June 1st we starting to take applications — the program will start September 15th. We have special companies for therapists, priests, spiritual directors, coaches, and those who work in lay ministry. Special ones for that. So that’s all of the announcements except for if you have questions about that, do not hesitate to reach out to me. My personal cell phone is (317) 567-9594, and I will take calls from listeners to this podcast every Tuesday and Thursday from 4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Eastern time. That’s about ten minute conversation. Now in those conversation hours, I can’t diagnose you. I can’t bring you any kind of clinical services.

Dr. Peter: [01:20:09] I can’t give you clinical advice about how to deal with your spouse or your children or your parents or any of that. But we can talk about any of the themes from this podcast, any of the things that I’m bringing up in the weekly reflections. Be happy to talk with you about that. If you’ve got questions about the RCC, whether it’s a good fit for you, that would be another possibility. Now we also have on May 21st — so if you’re getting this in the first day or two when this podcast releases, there will be a Zoom meeting, a question and answer Zoom meeting. I’ll be there. Marion Moreland, our lead navigator for the RCC. She will be there to answer your questions. We’ll do a brief presentation on the RCC. We’ll also put that up on our landing page once it’s over, we’ve recorded it. We’ll put it up so there’ll be plenty of opportunities to get the questions you have answered. We want to make sure that you’ve got the information you need to discern whether or not you might want to join the hundreds of others of Catholics that are already on this pilgrimage. So with that, we’re going to bring this to a close, and I want to give you, Jake, a most heartfelt and most warm and inviting thank you for this. This was super enjoyable. Like, I really had a good time just being with you. So thank you for being here. It’s been wonderful to have you.

Jake Khym: [01:21:25] You’re welcome man, I appreciate it. And if I can just encourage your listeners, it’s amazing what, Peter, you’re offering, and I know what it’s like to offer that. So I just want to say to your listeners, like when you have somebody of this caliber willing to engage, like engage. Like take him up on it. So it’s amazing. I’m really grateful that you’re on our team.

Dr. Peter: [01:21:51] Well, I see you as a fellow worker in this little corner of the vineyard, working in the messiness of what we are, you know, battering around as human formation, right? And connected with these other, these other dimensions. And so thank you for being here with me, Jake. And we will draw this episode to a close with big hearts and a lot of gratitude by invoking our patroness and our patrons. Our Lady, our mother, Untier of knots.

Jake Khym: [01:22:17] Pray for us.

Dr. Peter: [01:22:18] Saint Joseph.

Jake Khym: [01:22:20] Pray for us.

Dr. Peter: [01:22:20] Saint John the Baptist.

Jake Khym: [01:22:22] Pray for us.

Special thanks to the Human Formation Coalition, who provided the support to make this transcript available.

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